Interior Designer Course
How to Choose the Right One Near Princeton Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Princeton AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. It's important that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So in order to analyze and compare each school you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice it's vital that you do the proper due diligence. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right school? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. There are several other considerations that you should evaluate when reviewing schools, for example accreditation and reputation. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training alternatives are offered.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Princeton AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Princeton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Princeton AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Princeton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Princeton AL program you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Princeton AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Princeton AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Princeton AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Princeton home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Princeton AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Princeton Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Princeton Alabama.